The article examines the development of the new “debt economy,” especially the expansion of individual debt, in its relation to the main props of the neoliberal agenda: the precarization of work, the dismantling of the “welfare state,” and the increasing financialization of reproduction. The debt-based economy and the production of mass indebtedness, which must be viewed as a response to the accumulation crisis caused by the social struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, represents an important transformation in class relations. “Debt” hides class antagonism, individualizes workers, and weakens resistance to exploitation. In particular, “debt” undermines social solidarity, as in the case of microfinance where failure to repay loans results in much physical and psychological violence against the mostly female borrowers. The article traces the rise of antidebt movements, especially in Latin America and the United States, underlining their importance in the regeneration of the social fabric and the collectivization of resistance to banks, nongovernmental organizations, and debt collectors.

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